MARIAN LUPU: I AM NOT A CANDIDATE AGAINST SOMEONE, I AM A CANDIDATE FOR MOLDOVA
In an interview for TRIBUNA portal, the President of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), Marian Lupu, has spoken about how he managed to gather 29 thousand signatures in record time, who is the main competitor in this election, whom he would like to fight in the second round, if he gets there, the importance of the position of the President and about his first actions in the office of President of RM.
T.: Mr. Lupu, you will be first on the ballot. What does it mean to you? Do you think it can help you in the election?
M.L.: The order of candidates on the ballot does not influence the outcome of the vote. Whether you are the first, the fifth or the seventh, it makes no difference when citizens go to the polls.
However, being first on the ballot implies something important: that the candidate has managed, with the support and initiative group of the party, to gather the required number of signatures in the shortest time. It is a proof of the strength of the party, and in our case it is a proof that PDM is the best organized party in Moldova.
T.: You have been criticized by some people after you have managed to collect about 29 thousand signatures in support of your candidacy for President in a record time. But indeed, how did you manage to do it?
We have achieved it through early and efficient organization. We provided training to our district organizations in August; therefore everyone knew the rules concerning the signatures for their districts, reviewed their records with our members and supporters and knew exactly where to go. We are a well-developed party in the territory, and it has been seen.
On September 2, when collecting of signatures started, I was in territory - in Molesti village, Ialoveni district, but also in other places in the country. I have personally seen that local organizations are well prepared. A quick gathering of signatures is a reason for Democrats to be proud and I am not going to apologize for PDM’s mobilization. It has worked quickly and correctly.
There is just one thing I want to tell our critics: when the fox does not manage to get to the grapes, she says they are sour. Their failure does not meet others should also fail.
T.: Judging by how the election period started, you should expect a tough battle for the Presidency. Who do you think is your main competitor in this election?
M.L.: Talking about myself, I do not run against anyone, I run for Moldova. I think the winning option for me and for the PDM: to come up with a positive offer, to show what we want to do. People are tired of those who keep yelling DOWN, those who want chaos and scandal, and those who want to be presidents out of personal ambition or coming to power with thoughts of revenge. No, it is not what people want. They want a President to think about Moldova, a President who will show you a better way to Moldova.
Therefore, our opponents in these elections are opponents of Moldova, i.e. those pushing the country towards instability and scandal and those who want to reverse Moldova from its European path.
T.: Who are the voters you will count on, because some say you have a center-left vision, others – that it is center-right?
M.L.: The presidential elections are outstanding and go beyond divisions into left and right. It is a competition between people, and people here vote differently than in parliamentary elections, when they vote for parties.
We are targeting two areas. On the one hand we want to attract the electorate that wants stability. These people want peace in the country, but also want this silence to produce something: new jobs, higher wages, better roads, more efficient administration, less corruption. Together with the Government and the Parliament, I can give this guarantee, namely that we have stability plus results.
On the other hand, we would like to attract the pro-European electorate. And our message to these voters is simple: we are pro-European by our deeds. I am the President of PDM, which is the main government party and has taken clear steps to get closer to the EU - for example, the new law on prosecution, acceleration of implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU, strengthening the powers of the National Bank, pro-business measures related to reduction in the number of permits, intensified consultation with civil society. We have provided political support for these measures and will ensure further such support.
T.: There are voices saying you have a real chance to get to the second round. With whom would you like to fight in the second round, if you get there?
M.L.: My colleagues and I have started this battle to win. We understand very well that it's a tough battle, but this awareness mobilizes us even more. It is clear that there will be a second round, because there are enough candidates and the electorate is fragmented.
I wish I could get to the second round with a candidate the contrast against which is very clear. As a pro-European candidate, I think I can win an anti-European candidate in the second round. And as the candidate of stability and development, I can defeat a candidate of instability and anarchy. If you want, I can give names - Igor Dodon and Andrei Nastase.
T.: If you do not get to the second round, whom will PD support?
M.L.: As I said, our effort is directed towards winning the election. It is an important stake for Moldova and I think the chances are very good for me and the PDM team. Thus, we are focused on this version and not on others.
Therefore we prepare our effort in advance to expand the electoral pool for the second round, counting, as I said, on citizens who want stability with achievements and those who support the European vector of Moldova.
T.: Would you describe the portrait of the President Moldova needs?
M.L.: Our country needs a president who is pro-Europe and pro-Moldova, a person experienced in state affairs, a peacemaker and a unifier, a person who would use all levers to move things forward.
Moldova needs a strong person, to whim patriotism is important and who clearly sees the country's future in Europe. The future President must also have held positions of responsibility for a significant period of time – both political positions, but also in central administration. Also, it should be someone who has good knowledge of foreign relations – both in practice and in theory. Moldova cannot afford a President who is not ready for this position and who will have to learn after coming to the office.
Moldova needs a President who can sit down with the leaders of other countries, a President Moldovans can be proud of. Moldova cannot afford a brawler who confuses citizens and foreign partners. Lastly, Moldova needs a President who understands well the economic mechanisms, is a credible partner for dialogue and brings added value in relation to the Prime Minister and the parliamentary majority. He must be respected and obeyed by the people, not be in conflict with them, generating new political crisis.
But most of all Moldova needs a President who cares about his country, which cares about every problem and seeks solutions. Knowing what buttons to press and get a response.
T.: Yet, how important you think the position of President is, because some say it is more formal and the head of state, in practical terms, has no real levers to influence the situation in the country?
M.L.: I disagree that the President's position is just formal. No position where you are elected by people can be formal. It is full of responsibility and authority. The President of Moldova has the right of legislative initiative, just like the Government and the Parliament. He has also the right to convene special or extraordinary Parliament sessions. He has the right to give public messages before the Parliament on major national issues. The President of Moldova has broad powers in matters of foreign policy and national defense, two very important areas for any country and for our country.
And now, in addition to the constitutional powers and prestige of the position, the President will be supported by the votes of citizens. The President will have the power assigned by people directly, which is very important.
I think the powers of the President and the words of the President should be used to the maximum for the good of the country. If Moldovans elect me, I will be an active president, a president striving for Moldova day by day.
T.: What would your first actions be if you reach the position of President of RM?
Emergency M.L.: I will do a thorough analysis of the country's major documents, both in domestic politics and the foreign policy. I'm talking about the general state of public finances, the economic situation and living standards of citizens, but also foreign treaties and agreements to which Moldova is a party - first and foremost the Association agreement with the European Union.
I assure Moldovan people that I will be an active President from the outset, and will use the powers within the function the power given by the people's votes.
T.: Do you admit the idea of early parliamentary elections, if the representative of the Opposition becomes the president?
M.L.: Definitely not. The president can do many things, but he or she cannot tell the Parliament to dismiss the Government and then resign itself. The only elections in the next two years should be the presidential election. Parliamentary elections must be held at the end of 2018, as planned. And one more thing: a President coming to office with the idea to trigger early elections and thus generate instability may very quickly lose public support.
I am sure that whatever the outcome of presidential elections, this government will remain in office until the end of its mandate.